1975 World Cup in England
The tournament started with eight participating teams, with East Africa, Sri Lanka being termed as the ‘minnows’ playing 60-overs per team one-day matches. The format was kept simple as two groups (with four teams each) competed for the best four to go up to the semi finals.
However, considering the dominance of Test cricket in those times, it took a while for the teams to adapt to the shorter format or the ‘truncated Test format’, as many may call it, especially when only 18 ODIs were played till then.
Despite orthodox theory, the teams came up with a good show as England fought Australia and West Indies took on New Zealand in the semis.
The Headingley pitch though was tailor made for English swing and seaming conditions, it was the Australian side that took the advantage as Gary Gilmour’s 6 for 14 helped beat the home team by 4 wickets and reach the finals. The Windies, meanwhile, registered an easy 5-wicket victory over the Kiwis as they chased down an easy target of 159 runs with 19.5 overs to spare.
Clive Lloyd’s stupendous 102-run innings in the final match helped the West Indies set a competitive target of 291 runs, that appeared too much to handle for the Aussies. Later, Keith Boyce’s 4-wicket haul restricted the Australians to 274 as the Caribbean country won the final clash by 17 runs and lifted the first ever World Cup.
India at 1975 World Cup
India started the tournament as the underdogs and did not do much to change that perception. Sunil Gavaskar set the tone of the tournament with an agonizingly slow 36* off 174 balls in their first match that was lost to England.
A win against tournament minnows East Africa was the only saving grace as New Zealand showed them the door in the group stages itself.
India were back with two losses and one win. West Indies were the eventual champions with an impressive 5-0 result.